The Asia Society, New York, 1988

WorldWide Video Festival, The Hague, 1989

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The Lost Soul
3 channel video installation with multimedia elements

The work is in the form of a natural-history museum display, presenting viewers with an artifact grouping similar in some ways to what might be found at a reconstruction of an ancient tomb or throne-room. As such, it connects my past experiences which occurred in different places (Thailand, India, New York) recorded on video, through the self-representation of "person watching" all three at once (embodied by the skeleton) to a future metaphor of video-artist as cultural relic, extinct way of life. The three channels of the video are described below, with that on the largest monitor described first, then middle, then smallest:

1 . An eleven minute "loop" of a ritual soul-calling and healing ceremony of the Lahu Sheh Leh people-in Northern Thailand. It is their belief that when a person falls ill it is the result of their soul having left their body. The video shows several of the stages of the ritual in which the soul is called to return to the village, is trapped in a long piece of string, and is rejoined to the sick person. There is also a ritual sacrifice of a pig, its preparation,' and a ceremonial group dance and bonfire late in the night.

2 . A 35 minute "loop" of an Indian man preparing a meal in a kitchen in New Delhi. His current occupation is that of cook for a household of New Yorkers living in New Delhi. He recounts his experiences in moving from a rural vilage into New Delhi, his search for work and his many jobs, his marriage, his experiences of meeting the New Yorkers who are his employers, and, indirectly, about becoming "westernized". This is revealed through an extended conversation with myself, who remains off camera.

3 . A five minute "loop" of pedestrian crowds shopping for Christmas presents on 14th St. in New York City, which is where I lived at the time this work was created. It is a ritual particular to a several cultures, and the crowd shows the ethnic diversity of those who shop on 14th St., which is particular to New York.

These three tapes represent for me an "other" culture, a "bridge" culture, and "my own" culture. The fact that all three are deeply interconnected and nested in each other is the subject contemplated by the subject of the work (the self-skeleton) who in his "loss of soul" is trying to be healed by pulling the threads of the world's cultures together into himself...and perhaps died wondering..

-kf, 1988


exhibition history:
ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, 2005 -2006
WorldWide Video Festival, The Hague, 1989
The Asia Society, New York, 1988

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